When you take stock of how many people are involved in localization efforts on every level, it underscores what a major undertaking it really is. Those people may not all wear “Localization” name tags, but you had better make sure they all have the support and resources they need to keep this complicated ecosystem healthy. Make sure it can expand with your content.
The best way to identify your localization team is to take a step back and follow the entire life cycle of your content—from before its conception until, and even after, it is in the hands of the consumer. Even those people who barely come in contact with the content may still bear some weight on the localization process in the long run.
It’s time to mobilize your localization team. Make sure they all understand their roles in the grand scheme. Make sure your localization strategy embraces everyone and provides them with the tools to move your product smoothly and successfully around the globe.
How Do You Build a Localization Team?
The Decentralized Route
If there is no plan in place from the very beginning, the wide responsibilities of localization may fall to someone from the product team, or people may automatically think of the marketing department. Sometimes, someone just does it and then everyone else turns to that person again. It’s possible for things to work out for a while like that, but you’re basically on a countdown to collapse as there is no strategy or capacity for growth.
In this scenario, your assets are unlikely to be structured, and you are missing out on critical opportunities for efficiency. For example, if the marketing team creates a translation memory for their specific needs, it probably won’t cross over very well when the legal department needs a translation. But this is only because it wasn’t designed for maximum effect—centralized versatility—in the first place.
→ So, you’ve identified that the way you’re doing localization isn’t working? It’s wasting your time and resources? Don’t write off centralization as being too expensive before you even look into it. The reality is that automated solutions create an accessible path that is versatile for your budget and for your teams.
The Centralized Route
In order to break into an efficient localization strategy that will work for the long term, you need a good partner and good technology. Both the expert element and the tech element will help you to run the tightest ship possible while keeping costs reasonable.
At its best, a localization team is not a hierarchical one. Because localization touches everything, it operates more as an ecosystem of stakeholders and content and tools. Hence, the localization manager or localization team at the center of it holds three major responsibilities:
- Find a consistent approach to technology that serves the entire organization
- Make full use of your localization assets by capturing translation memory, compiling term bases, and ensuring a cohesive approach to all language tasks
- Be an engine for advocacy by raising consciousness throughout the organization about what it means to be global and coordinating efforts to achieve globalization
This enlightened path connects your team members with each other and with the tools they need to push localization forward with ultimate efficiency and quality.
Who Is on Your Localization Team?
Developing a smart strategy depends on being able to see very clearly who is on your team. It’s not just those people closest to global marketing or translation decisions; the reality is that everyone who interacts with the product or the content somewhere along the pipeline has a stake in localization. And it’s also important to note that most of these stakeholders have a chance of minimizing costs and boosting efficiency. You enable these opportunities for optimization by seeing your localization team clearly from the start and developing your structure and strategy around it.
Where should you be looking for the members of your localization team?
Everyone involved in requesting translation work
Everyone who needs a translation is part of your team. The requesters may be people who know nothing about localization—they could be from the legal department, software development, human resources and training, or customer support. The list goes on. In any case, their needs shape your activities.
A localization or internationalization engineer
The localization or internationalization engineer is a common figure in software companies looking to expand. The technicalities behind the scenes of content translation are too important to neglect. In some cases, this engineer is a member of the production team, which is actually ideal because then localization and eventual target locales are front of mind even during development. It means your product is getting off to a good and proactive start on the global market.
Those who will sign off on content
How do you know a good translation when you see it? You need to depend on reviewers who can verify the linguistic and cultural value of your content adaptations, as well as the integrity of your brand. They may be in-market salespeople or other stakeholders. Whoever they may be, they are going to be a part of terminology and translation workflows, and they’ll be part of final in-context deliverables sign-off.
Everyone generating content that may end up in the localization pipeline
Content generators are key team members. They may include UI/UX designers, marketing content writers, technical writers, trainers and instructional designers, and anyone else. Making them aware of their integral part in the localization process from the very start invites them to work more efficiently for localization.
The parts people can play in the localization process may not always be obvious. For example, technical writers use structured language for documentation. By repeating exact phrases whenever possible across content, they can maximize the translation memory resources and save the company money.
Team Up with an Expert Localization Partner
Clearly identifying who is on your team is critical. Developing an infrastructure for all of them to operate in is what brings your localization strategy home. It organizes localization tools for easy access and enables collaboration within a constantly evolving process. However, creating a workable infrastructure may be one of your biggest challenges. With so many moving parts and input by so many stakeholders, organizing it all requires a new and highly specific set of skills. Professional guidance is often the best solution. So, your next step should be to choose a reliable localization partner.
Only an expert partner can help you develop an ideal ecosystem for resource and cost savings. The most expensive part of the localization process is the human labor involved, so you want to take full advantage of automation. Any tasks that can be automated without compromising quality should be automated. A reliable localization partner with good technology will enable you to sort out your critical personnel needs while helping you to lean on the latest tools for automated localization management and integration. Mitigate human error and wasted efforts. Keep your people working on and expanding their valuable contributions to your organization.
Bureau Works has extensive experience building productive localization teams while balancing manual and automated effort for efficiency and quality. Our system provides radical transparency and fast delivery with minimal management. Contact our team to talk about how you can achieve world-class localization with the best use of your humanpower.
Written by Luciana Passos
Luciana is Bureau Work’s COO. She is known as a gap bridger and a heart follower.